Hong Kong’s own brand turns tipsy

Little success has sprung from Hong Kong’s efforts to rebrand itself since it lost its exclusive status as the only gateway into a closed and secretive China, and some of its East-meets-West allure departed with the British in 1997. The development of Cyberport to attract innovative high-tech industries turned out to be a classic Hong Kong real estate deal dressed up in gobbledegook. The much ballyhooed Disneyland turned out to be, well, Disneyland of a sort. Other ideas for keeping Hong Kong a world class city by making it a centre for contract arbitration services, gold futures, education and — the flavour of the moment — carbon trading have all failed to achieve altitude. But in his latest budget, financial secretary John Tsang has come up with a much more earthy and credible drive for municipal fame. Tsang wants Hong Kong to line up along side London and New York as a global centre for trade in fine wines. To that end he has dumped the tax on imported wines, which were 80 percent of the price last year but only brought him about HK$500 million in revenue. Tsang reckons this loss will be outweighed by the new jobs and income as Hong Kong becomes the “gambay” capital of Asia.

[From The Vancouver Sun]

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